Irrational Fears of Life-Threatening "corona" Virus Diagnosis

Photo credit: Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Photo credit: Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Recent results (05.02.21) of the study "Knowledge of and attitudes towards Corona", initiated by Univ.-Prof. Manuel Schabus, includes data from a total of 3,606 adults living in Austria (64.2% female, 35.5% male, 0.3% diverse).

A homogeneous age distribution (approx. 20% per age group) allows a representative picture of Austrian society’s current thoughts and feelings on the topic of "Corona". It is only the groups of 60-69-year-olds and the over 70s that are somewhat underrepresented, with a total of only 13.1%.

Fears, concerns and resentment

The greatest fears in the current pandemic are shown to be (1) that a close relative will fall ill (68.2%), (2) the forecasted damage to the economy (46.3%), and the restrictions for freedom of expression or fundamental rights (45%). The fear of dying from "Corona" was mentioned least often (15.2%).

Almost 90% of the participants (89.1%) now feel very (60.2%) or at least somewhat (28.9%) restricted by Corona-related measures. Most participants (81.2%) share their concerns/displeasure regularly with friends or family. All age groups are equally critical. 26.9% of participants are engaging themselves more publicly by posting in forums, participating in demonstrations, or taking legal action. Feelings of anger and unease from the perceived non-objective reporting concerns more than a third of the participants (38.2%) all or most of the time.

During the pandemic, the most stressful factors stated were not being able to maintain social contacts (42.6% not being able to meet friends or 46.7% not being able to meet relatives), homeschooling with parents (44.9%) and economic consequences (69.8%).

Surprisingly, the fear of carrying the disease (17.3%), of falling ill oneself (5.6%) or a lack of care due to a possible strain on the health system (15.2%) are rated as far less stressful than the social and economic consequences mentioned above.

Getting vaccinated

In terms of the willingness to be vaccinated, 43.9% of the participants stated that they would get the vaccine (4.9% of them due to professional requirements), 30% would like to wait or are still undecided and 26.1% definitely do not want to be vaccinated.

Among those who are FOR vaccination, half (49.4%) say the primary reason for vaccination for them is "to be able to return to a normal life". Protecting themselves (26.5%) or others (24.1%) is cited less often as the driving factor.

The majority of those who are AGAINST getting vaccinated (54.2%) reason that the side effects of vaccination are so far too little known and researched.

92.3% of those who had already had a PCR or antigen test received a negative test result. 87.2% of those who received a positive test result reported either no change in health or only mild symptoms, with the remaining 12.8% reporting severe symptoms.

The fact that 42.2% of the participants do not expect a return to normality until 2022 or even later shows an alarming lack of optimism among the population. The participants felt the best ways to get through this crisis are to spend time outdoors (76%), to exercise (72%) and to meet up with relatives or friends (68%).


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